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Buying A Restaurant: What Are Things To Consider When Buying A Seasonal Restaurant?

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Comments & Replies: 1     Views: 1693     Posted By: Joe Ranieri  Joe Ranieri - Restaurant Broker - Orange County Area

Buying a seasonal small business restaurant can be challenging, but Joe Ranieri a business broker restaurant specialist and others in this BizBen Discussion review multiple ways to offset these factors and still get the most from buying and operating a small to mid-sized seasonal restaurant.

Topics: Buying A Business     Tags: buying a business



I live and work in Orange County, California and so there are many beach cities near a boardwalk or promenade that I would consider having seasonal restaurants. Many restaurants in these areas depend on warm weather conditions and are trafficked by a high number of tourists and they see huge sales in the months from April-October, but may see sales plummet by 50%-60% or more in the months in between. A novice buyer who has never owned a seasonal business may be forced to close their doors if they do not plan for the lean months. The rents in affluent areas near the coast can be justified in the spring and summer when the business owner is enjoying 60K-70K gross sales months, but during the "off season" that rent can nearly break them and shutter the doors.

1. Money Management/Rent

An owner should know precisely what their expenses are and not over capitalize in the "hot months." Saving money for the leaner months of business is vital to keeping the doors open. An owner should also monitor their inventory especially at the tail end of the busy season. Businesses in affluent areas, especially near the ocean tend to have a higher dollar amount per square footage, which may not be a problem when times are good, but when things go south, it can be crippling.

2. Staffing

Many college kids or those who are taking a first job are thrilled to only be working for a few short months until they go back to school, and so try to keep an upbeat environment, so many will return year after year. Creating great customer service is very important, because you want to retain as many customers in the off season as possible.

3. Consider Going From 7 Days A Week To 5

As the slower months begin, to save costs, an owner may consider closing Monday and Tuesdays or couple of the slowest days of the week.

4. Offer Loyalty Cards To Locals

Instead of lowering the prices on the menu, which can turn people off when the prices return to normal, consider offering a loyalty rewards program to locals in the off season to keep them coming in the door. A loyalty card can make every fifth sandwich ordered half price or free, etc., and is a great way to retain customers when times are slow.

5. Be Open To Catering Or Invest In A Food Truck

Renting out the kitchen or investing in a food truck can be good opportunities for additional income in the slower months.

I'd be curious to hear what other contributors on this forum have to say, and that includes those who have sold businesses that are seasonal in the fall/winter months.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Steve Zimmerman: Restaurant Broker Specialist

Steve founded Restaurant Realty in 1996. He has personally sold/leased over 900 restaurants, bars & clubs, & completed over 3000 valuations. The author of "Restaurant Dealmaker - An Insider's Trade Secrets For Buying a Restaurant, Bar or Club" available on Amazon. Reach Steve direct at 415-945-9701.

Mani Singh, Business Broker, Southern California

I have successfully represented clients sell & acquire multitude of businesses ranging from Gas Stations, Liquor Stores, Markets, Super Markets, Smoke Shops, Postal Stores, Restaurants, General Retail, Auto and Construction related. Phone me for assistance with selling or buying at 951-296-7646 Cell

Bob Baumgarten, Business Broker: Orange, LA Counties

National Business Brokerage is a full service brokerage company that has been serving buyers and sellers of Southern California businesses since 1994. We are dedicated to providing the highest standards of professional service for our clients. Phone Bob direct at 949-588-8727.

Ryan Clark, Business Broker, Southern California

The Veld Group provides a refreshing approach to Business Brokerage, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Consulting and Valuations. From Your Street to Wall Street, we cater to Main Street Businesses as well as more complex Strategic Firms and Start-Ups. Phone Ryan at 310-652-8353.

George Lanza, Business Broker, At Plethora Business Sales

Plethora Businesses, a division of A Premier In Services, Inc., is a Business Intermediary Consulting Firm headquartered in Orange, California. Plethora specializes in the listing and sale of small and medium sized private businesses.

William Park, Business Broker - Southern California

Highest Volume Broker in California, Simply Check our HUNDREDS of Listings! Over 25 Associates, Speaking Dozen Languages, Helping Buyers and Sellers of Small Business since 1982, Centrally Located between Los Angeles and Orange Counties, while Riverside & San Bernardino Counties are Very Accessible.

Chris Seaman, Business Broker - San Diego County Area

Founded in 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has accelerated to become one of the most successful Business Sales Organizations in the world. Our team of agents have gone through extensive training to become experts in the field of business brokerage. Call Chris at 858-578-4111 for more info.

Ron Hottes, Broker - Serving LA, Orange, Inland Empire Area

LINK Business is a business brokerage team of 28 highly skilled and seasoned professionals. Our business brokers have over 100 years of cumulative experience & the expertise to help you buy or sell a business in the LA County, Orange, Inland Empire areas. Call Ron for a consultation at 310-539-8300.


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